Conservative Christianity

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Conservative Christianity is a term used to describe identified Christians who tend to follow conservative values, and which stands in contrast to liberal Christianity. Some members of the clergy identify themselves as conservative Christians.

Conservative Christianity may refer to theologically conservative movements, which take many forms in modern Christianity. For example, Traditionalist Catholics who reject some of the Vatican II reforms may identify themselves as conservative Christians. Likewise, Anglicans who object to the ordination of women or homosexuals may consider themselves conservative Christians. Different forms of Conservative Protestantism exist, including Evangelicalism and Christian Fundamentalism. No comprehensive technical definition is provided for these terms, however, Christian researcher and author George Barna defines "Evangelicals" as a subset of those who meet the basic criteria defining born again Christians, but who also meet seven other doctrinal conditions.[1]

Conservative Christianity may refer to an opinion or advocacy position on certain political issues such as abortion, homosexuality, creationism, science education, taxation, affirmative action, gun control, treatment of prisoners, immigration, racial segregation, public education, global warming, capital punishment, and divorce.

Since the mid-1970s liberal sociologists have struggled to explain the growing popularity of Conservative Christianity.[2][3]

The label of "conservative" does not necessarily mean acceptance of all basic conservative values however. The designation is often applied to those who are more traditional than other members of the same faith family. There are, therefore, conservatives within liberal church bodies, and they may hold views that do not appear to be particularly conservative to outsiders. The Conservative Quakers are one example. They are a group distinct from other Quaker organizations and, despite their name, are not conservative in all their values. While they maintain traditional Quaker views on marriage, they have no stated opinion on abortion, and while not describing themselves as pacifist, they are against violence of all kinds, including the death penalty. Their most liberal view is the traditional Quaker one of opposing all wars, claiming that there is no such thing as a just war.[4]

Demographics and increasing influence of American conservative Christianity

See also: American atheism and Global Christianity

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufman wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[5]

Increase of conservative Christianity within global Christianity

Hong Kong Christians at Gateway Camp. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[6] (photo obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

Christianity is the world's largest religion and it has seen tremendous growth over its 2000-year history.[7] Christianity has recently seen explosive growth outside the Western World which often has cultures which are very traditional and conservative.[8] In 2000, there were twice as many non-Western Christians as Western Christians.[9] In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western Christians as there were Western World Christians.[10] There are now more non-Western missionaries than Western missionaries.[11]

In 2011, the American Spectator declared concerning research published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[12]

Implications of the explosive growth of global Christianity on conservative Christianity

see also: Internet evangelism and Atheist population

It is thought that given the increase in the availability of public's access to global communications that the more theologically conservative non-Western Christianity could influence Western Christianity to move into more theologically conservative direction.[13] For example, non-Western Anglicans are exerting influence in the worldwide Anglican communion as far as the Anglican Communion's policy concerning homosexuality.[14][15]

See also